The Group Trip That Changed My Life

I love my solo travel. It is a massive part of who I am. However, I have also had incredible experiences on group trips. One in particular stands out more then any other group trip I have been on and participated in – my trip to Tanzania with UGO Impact. It has now been one year since my trip with them, and the continual impact from it in my life has not ceased to amaze me. It transformed my being and changed my life.

The program itself is a 3 month transformational coaching program, the trip was 2 weeks, and it consisted of a one week volunteer project working alongside the Dare Womens Foundation and then a one week trip to summit Mount Kilimajaro. There is group work and individual work focusing on personal development before and after the trip. This served to open us up before the trip so the experiences can have a deeper meaning, and after the trip so we can get the best long term success with everything we had just experienced during the trip. Another great thing about the group calls pior to the trip is that it gave us the opportunity to get to know eachother on deep personal levels, and when we arrived to Tanzania it was all warm hugs and embraces, as we had already began our journey together in the video chats.

I am very much into personal development, so when I read about UGO Impact combining it with travel, giving back, and then completely challenging ourselves with Kilimanjaro, it spoke to my heart and soul straight away. A magical combination.

I love doing volunteer work, one of my favorite jobs I ever had was when I used to lead volunteer projects in the remote jungles of Central and South America. It had been far too long since I had done something like that, so the first week working with the Dare Womens Foundation and alongside the community lit my soul on fire in so many ways that I couldn’t have imagined. It was as though I was suddenly back to a place where I feel so fulfilled inside. I actually had no idea it was missing from my life until I got on the trip.

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The whole week we sang, we danced, we worked, we ate, we laughed, we connected.

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We always made time to do our group coaching and personal development sessions. Some days I would go into the session not thinking it would be too profound and then after the session I was once again mind blown at my self discoveries. One week on the volunteer project truly didn’t feel long enough. Although, the excitement for Kilimanjaro was also pulling at us all.

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By time we got to Kili, our group bond was super tight, and it was exciting knowing we were all about to embark on the next level, life changing journey together.

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Even through the highs and lows of challenges on the mountain we still did our group work and coaching sessions. Saying that it brought a deeper meaning and impact, almost feels like an understatement. I mean, I feel like I should have much more profound words to use, as it is so hard to sum up into actual words the effect it all had. When you are mentally opening yourself up and digging deep within yourself in a group of love and support, you will automatically have a much more transformational experience in the other activities you do surrounding the mental work.

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As you go through the challenges everything you experience suddenly can become a metaphor for your life – who you are being, and how you are showing up.

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Kilimajaro was incredible and also life changing in and of itself. It was something I had wanted to do for many years. I am so glad it never happened until I did it with UGO Impact. If I would have just went and did it without this amazing coaching program, the great foundation from the volunteer work, and my amazing group that I was so connected with, it would have still been life changing, but not nearly to the level as with the combination. Not even close.

After Kilimajaro I found a determination in myself that was not there before, I found grit and drive that was buried deep within. I realized I have so much more in me then I was giving. I also learnt that some things in life don’t need to be rushed, it is more about the perseverence and taking it one step at a time. On the mountain they said ‘pole, pole‘ which means ‘slowly, slowy‘. We need to get acclimatized at every level so our body can keep going. As in life, we climb the mountain towards our goals, we can’t always run towards them, sometimes, we have to take it slowly, one step at a time, making sure we have our bearings for the next step and the next level. As long as we keep going in the direction, we will always reach our summit.

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On this trip I also fine tuned and discovered more of my deep values, and I realized I had stopped living my passions. Somehow I had let them go to the side and in turn I stopped feeling like my true self. Thanks to my trip with UGO, I found myself, I remembered what is important to me so I can live my best life, and give the world the best version of me. We all deserve to live our best lives.

It amazes me that a year later I am still having so many takeaways.

I am so excited that my friends, the founders of UGO, Jill Valentine and Nicole Hrinco are running this program again this fall! These two completely lead with love. They are there fully for your success and transformation.

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Photo credit to UGO Impact.

Courage, Community, Kilimanjaro 2020 – is happening this fall!

Every single person on the trip had such life changing transformations that they had to create the opportunity again. If I could, I would do it again, one hundred percent in a heart beat. It was that good. One of the most epic experiences of my life.If you are searching for more meaning in your life, and are excited about the idea of getting your hands dirty helping a community in need and climbing a mountain while connecting with the most amazing group of people, send me a message or comment on this post so I can connect you with UGO – truly two of my favorite women.I came back from this trip a better, happier and more aligned version of myself. For that, I am forever grateful.20190117_1442286647181426608491816.jpg

Volunteering, Community and Connection in Tanzania

Giving back and supporting others – that’s what makes the world go round. In fact, I forgot just how much immersing myself in a different culture, giving back and working alongside the people sets my soul on fire. The sharing of energies in these situations amazing.

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While in Tanzania I took part in a volunteer project with UGO Travel For Change and we partnered with The Dare Women’s Foundation. It has been so many years since I partook in a group trip. Yet the values of UGO Travel For Change spoke to my core, so it was a no brainer to go on this adventure with them. Plus the group of women(and one guy) on this trip fit together like a perfect puzzle. It was amazing how much we all complimented each other as a group. I would for sure join UGO again.

The Dare Women’s Foundation does incredible work in Tanzania. It is an NGO working to empower Tanzanian women and girls, with a focus on rural areas, through poverty alleviation, social justice, economic empowerment, and gender equality.

The foundation had a piece of land donated to them, and with it, they plan on building a home where women who need shelter can live, heal and work on building a sustainable future. We came to help build them a fence to enclose their property.

I love hands-on work. There is something so satisfying about getting dirty and doing physical labour. Especially when you are doing it alongside an amazing community of locals. It was very hot, and that took to get used to, but the sweatiness just added to the whole experience. This is literally where the term ‘sweat hot mess’ is very¬†fitting.

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Every day the mama’s would come and out of nowhere they would build fires on the ground and whip up the most incredible meals. I mean unbelievable meals. Makes me think I need to step up my game next time I am camping.

Song and dance accompanied all the tasks and even the bus rides. There was always singing going on. It always amazes me how the people in Africa truly know how to enjoy life. Making the most of every day and every moment.

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I would have to say the cement was the hardest part of the work. First, we had to mix it on the ground and then we had to carry it in buckets to the fence where we then poured into the ground to create the cement base. Most of the buckets didn’t have proper handles so that would be why I would say it was the hardest. It was more so just painful for the hands.

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The baby goats made my day – every day! The neighbours were kind enough to let us use their outhouse for the duration of the project and on their little property; they had cows, goats and chickens. I had no idea that playing with baby goats is one of my absolute favourite things to do in life. Now I know.

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Before we finished the project, we each planted a tree on the property. The significance being we leave a piece of us that will grow and be something beautiful when we return.

On our final day, we had a farewell party. All the mamas came as well as the construction guys for lunch and a little ceremony so we could thank them for all of their amazing hospitality. We all pitched in to prepare the food with as much love as they used to prepare all of our food.

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We sang we ate, we danced, and we said our heartfelt ‘see you again’ to each other.

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It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It encompassed so many of my passions all in one and it ignited this massive desire to incorporate more of this into my life once again. It is a good reminder we should always take the time to do something we love, whatever lights us up, even if it is just something brief, as that light we gain from it will overflow to all areas of our life.

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The more you give the more you get, and I am starting 2019 off full of gratitude. It is about more than just giving back. On the deeper side, it is about community and connection on a global scale.